Kiev Celebrates Sholom Aleichem, then Destroys his House

February, 03 2009

By Jeremy Gillick

Following celebrations in Kiev in honor of the 150th anniversary of Sholom Aleichem’s birth, developers destroyed his house.

The great Yiddish writer would not have been surprised. Many of his stories dealt with misfortune, luck and the arbitrariness of life. He himself fell victim to risk and a volatile economy. As Dara Horn writes in an essay at, “Right on the Money,” Aleichem “lost his entire fortune on the Kiev stock exchange, and spent the rest of his life evading his creditors.”

On another note, for the first time in a long time, Sholom Aleichem has a new book out in English, Wandering Stars, also in honor of his 150th birthday (the Forward has an excerpt). Thankfully, it doesn’t directly relate to Madoff or any other contemporary scandal, crisis, election or war; it concerns Yiddish theater. Dara Horn has a nice piece about the novel in the Forward.

And then there’s Theo Bikel’s play about about Sholom Aleichem.

Anyway, happy Birthday, Sholom, and sorry about your house.

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